Earlier this year when Phil Mickelson converted a 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship into an improbable sixth major victory, a streak followed in his wake.
In the three months that followed, sleeping on the Saturday night lead ended in heartbreak. There were 14 consecutive events — starting with Jason Kokrak overtaking Jordan Spieth at Colonial and ending when Patrick Cantlay won the BMW Championship in a playoff over Bryson DeChambeau — where the 54-hole leader or co-leader didn’t win the tournament.
Some of them were collapses. Poor Chesson Hadley coughed up a four-stroke lead at Congaree and lost by one after a final-round 75. Some of them were less surprising, like when Louis Oosthuizen, Mackenzie Hughes and Russell Henley all fell apart at different junctures on Sunday at the U.S. Open. Oosthuizen couldn’t hold on again at the Open Championship a month later, this time his demise coming much earlier in the day.
All summer long, in all various forms, 54-hole leaders fell by the wayside. It’s even carried into the fall a...
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